Free Stuff Fridays (Zondervan)

This week’s Free Stuff Fridays is sponsored by Zondervan, who also sponsored the blog this week. They are giving away TEN 2-packs of Sean McGever’s NEWEST book, The Good News of Our Limits, so you can keep one and give one away. Many of us are tired, stressed, and overworked. We think that following God will bring peace, but instead find ourselves anxious. We expect a life of joy, but end up feeling stressed, living under the heavy load of …

When We Go Unnourished

My dad sometimes got exasperated with me. He sometimes got exasperated with me and, looking back, I can’t say I blame him. After all, while his passion was to nurture life within his precious gardens, mine was to kick back with a good book. While his burden was to do things well, mine was to do them with the least effort possible. I’m sure I didn’t make much of an employee on those days I accompanied him to job sites. …

Become a Patron

None of Us Will Ever Forget What You Did

The young man had forsaken his father, claimed an early inheritance, and blown it all in reckless living. Having fallen from riches to poverty, this prodigal son was now in the most desperate of straights—working hard, eating little, spiraling ever downward. But on one brutal day, when he was as low as low could be, a thought suddenly flashed into his mind: “At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and I’m here dying of hunger!” The …

The Power of True Holiness

This week I found myself pondering some powerful words from the pen of J.C. Ryle: “Satan knows well the power of true holiness and the immense injury which increased attention to it will do to his kingdom.” We are called to God so we can become holy like God. He means for us to be as devoted to his purposes as he is and for that reason begins to transform us from the inside out—from the mind and heart to …

A Message for Young Women

I recently shared a message for young men. Having done that, I asked my friend Melissa Edgington if she would write an equivalent letter for young women. She kindly did so and allowed me to share it here. Somewhere out there in the great, wide world, someone is praying for you. She probably doesn’t know you and you probably don’t know her. You may not meet one another for many more years. But she’s praying for you nonetheless and has …

The Music of Heaven

One quiet evening many years ago, I was sitting on the screened-in porch of our old family cottage when I heard the music of bagpipes. Curious, I followed the sound, which me led as far as I could go, down to the shore of the lake.  Somewhere across the water, I could hear the piper playing. The evening was quiet and the lake was still, and the sound carried so well that I could hear every haunting note with perfect …

The God Who Counts the Cost

We are nothing if not rash—nothing if not prone to making vows that are impulsive, promises we cannot keep. Sometimes we deliver on them only partially and at other times we fail altogether. “It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay,” says the Sage. But too often we do exactly that—we fail utterly to pay what we owe, to come through as we have promised. This is true of our greatest vows …

Do You Knock at the Gates of the Grave?

There is a sense in which we are less familiar with death than our forebears, more insulated from its horrors. Of course the death rate in the twenty-first century is identical to every century before and every century to come—“it is appointed for [each and every] man to die once, and after that comes judgment.” So perhaps it is better to say we are less familiar with what we consider premature death—the death of infants, children, and young adults. Because …

Our Hearts and Minds Turned Outward

Every coin has a head behind a tail, every die a 6 behind a 1, every stamp a sticker behind a face. And in much the same way, every technology has a virtue behind a vice, a benefit behind a drawback, something beneficial behind something sorely detrimental. The television that supplies important news also promotes vile entertainment, the engine that provides propulsion also produces pollution, the nuclear fission that powers a city also risks destroying that city. Such is life …

My Favorite Family Memory

The Challies family is not what it used to be. It is not what it used to be because we have experienced some profound changes over the past few years. Most of these changes have been normal and good—children going to college, children getting engaged, children moving out—, while one has been unexpected and grievous—a child going to heaven. Between them, these changes have left life and family very different than it was before. I don’t know what aging parents …